“this says – i love my whole family.”
“writing isn’t letters on paper. it’s communication. it’s memory.”
“i love handwritten letters. the way the words get jumbled up when the writer’s excited.
the way the words get neat when the writer is trying not to make a mistake.
the way the words get pretty because the writer’s in love.
i love handwritten letters.”
January 17th is National Send a Handwritten Letter Day.
The idea is to save the dying art of letter writing and help the ailing Post Office
by sending a letter(s) to someone you care about.
Who will you surprise with a letter? Saving the world one letter at a time.
You probably already know the interrobang, thanks to its popularity (You did what!?). Though the combination exclamation point and question mark can be replaced by using one of each, they can also be combined into a single glyph. The interrobang was invented by advertising executive Martin Speckter in 1962, who said “it is the typographical equivalent of a grimace or a shrug of the shoulders. It applied solely to the rhetorical, when a writer wished to convey incredulity.” The name is derived from the Latin word interrogatio, which means “questioning,” and bang—how printers refer to the exclamation mark.
what is your favorite flower?
do you know what it’s saying?
THE HISTORY OF FLOWER MEANINGS – The Language of Flowers
The symbolic language of flowers has been recognized for centuries in many countries throughout Europe and Asia. They even play a large role in William Shakespeare’s works. Mythologies, folklore, sonnets, and plays of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Chinese are peppered with flower and plant symbolism—and for good reason. Nearly every sentiment imaginable can be expressed with flowers. The orange blossom, for instance, means chastity, purity, and loveliness, while the red chrysanthemum means “I love you.”
FLOWERY LANGUAGE OF THE VICTORIAN ERA
Learning the special symbolism of flowers became a popular pastime during the 1800s. Nearly all Victorian homes had, alongside the Bible, guidebooks for deciphering the “language,” although definitions shifted depending on the source.
In the Victorian era, flowers were primarily used to deliver messages that couldn’t be spoken aloud. In a sort of silent dialogue, flowers could be used to answer “yes” or “no” questions. A “yes” answer came in the form of flowers handed over with the right hand; if the left hand was used, the answer was “no.”
Plants could also express aversive feelings, such as the “conceit” of pomegranate or the “bitterness” of aloe. Similarly, if given a rose declaring “devotion” or an apple blossom showing “preference,” one might return to the suitor a yellow carnation to express “disdain.”
How flowers were presented and in what condition were important. If the flowers were given upside down, then the idea being conveyed was the opposite of what was traditionally meant. How the ribbon was tied said something, too: Tied to the left, the flowers’ symbolism applied to the giver, whereas tied to the right, the sentiment was in reference to the recipient. And, of course, a wilted bouquet delivered an obvious message!
More examples of plants and their associated human qualities during the Victorian era include bluebells and kindness, peonies and bashfulness, rosemary and remembrance, and tulips and passion. The meanings and traditions associated with flowers have certainly changed over time, and different cultures assign varying ideas to the same species, but the fascination with “perfumed words” persists just the same.
There is a language, little known,
Lovers claim it as their own.
Its symbols smile upon the land,
Wrought by nature’s wondrous hand;
And in their silent beauty speak,
Of life and joy, to those who seek
For Love Divine and sunny hours
In the language of the flowers.
–The Language of Flowers, London, 1875
text credits: Old Farmer’s Almanac, Catherine Boeckmann
art credit: Illustrated postcard. Printed in England/The Regent Publishing Co Ltd.-Dumbarton Oaks Archives
Silent tree activity, like photosynthesis and the absorption and evaporation of water, produces a small voltage in the leaves. In a bid to encourage people to think more carefully about their local tree canopy, sound designer and musician Skooby Laposky has found a way to convert that tree activity into music.
By connecting a solar-powered sensor to the leaves of three local trees in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Laposky was able to measure the micro voltage of all that invisible tree activity, assign a key and note range to the changes in that electric activity, and essentially turn the tree’s everyday biological processes into an ethereal piece of ambient music.
You can check out the tree music yourself by listening to the Hidden Life Radio—Laposky’s art project—which aims to increase awareness of trees in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the city’s disappearing canopy by creating a musical “voice” for the trees.
The project features the musical sounds of three Cambridge trees: a honey locust, a red oak, and an 80-year-old copper beech tree, all located outside the Cambridge Public Library. Each tree has a solar-powered biodata sonification kit installed on one of its branches that measures the tree’s hidden activities and translates it into music.
According to WBUR, between 2009 and 2014, Cambridge was losing about 16.4 acres of canopy annually, which is a huge loss considering that tree canopies are crucial to cities, cooling them down during the summer, reducing air pollutino, sucking up carbon, and providing mental health benefits.
Laposky hopes that people will tune into Hidden Life Radio and spend time listening to the trees whose music occurs in real-time and is affected by the weather. Some days they might be silent, especially when it hasn’t rained for several days and they’re dehydrated. The project will end in November, when the leaves will drop — a “natural cycle for the project to end,” Laposky says, “when there aren’t any leaves to connect to anymore.”
“in a cool solitude of trees
where leaves and birds a music spin,
mind that was weary is at ease,
new rhythms in the soul begin.”
-william kean seymour
source credits: Kristin Toussaint, The Optimist Daily, WBUR Radio
We humans may be tiring of video calls, Zoom birthdays and streamed performances, but the chimps at two Czech zoos are just starting to enjoy their new live online linkup. To make up for the lack of interaction with visitors since the attractions closed in December under Covid-19 restrictions, the chimpanzees at Safari Park Dvur Kralove and the troop at a zoo in Brno, 93 miles away, can now watch one another’s daily lives on giant screens.
There are no mute-button disasters as the sound is off, but there has already been plenty of interest in what the distant cousins are up to since the project got underway last week.
“At the beginning they approached the screen with defensive or threatening gestures, there was interaction,” said Gabriela Linhartova, ape keeper at Dvur Kralove, 84 miles east of Prague. “It has since moved into the mode of ‘I am in the movies’ or ‘I am watching TV.’ When they see some tense situations, it gets them up off the couch, like us when we watch a live sport event.” The chimpanzees have also adopted other human behaviors such as grabbing goodies like nuts to chew on while watching the action.
The video conferences, also aired on the safari park’s website, will run daily from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. until the end of March, when keepers will evaluate whether they should continue.
“it is even harder for the average ape to believe that he has descended from man.”
-H. L. Mencken
credits: David w. Cerney – Reuters
my wall plug looks quite content
and has a story to tell.
“it seemed to me at an early age that all human communication-
whether it’s tv, movies, books –
begins with somebody wanting to tell a story.
that need to tell, to plug into a universal socket,
is probably one of our grandest desires. and the need to hear stories,
to live lives other than our own for even the briefest moment,
is the key to the magic that was born in our bones.”
-robert r. mccammon